five senses from my world: guerrilla girls, anonymous art activists

Five senses from Guerrilla Girls world, the masked art activists who question cultural institutions we take for granted while exploring diversity in European art organisations. 

Fierce feminist masked avengers,The Guerrilla Girls are a force to be reckoned with. Anonymous activists exposing sexism, racism, and corruption in art, politics and pop culture. Artists and authors of  sky high billboards, stickers, bold banners, posters, street art and several books that command attention. Storming the art world and snatching headlines since 1985 using powerful facts, humour and outrageous visuals. The Guerrilla Girls continue to strip back and reveal the gritty understory, the subtext, the overlooked, and the downright unfair. 


1980s New York moved us to do something.

MOMA had an exhibition with only 13 out of 169 artists being woman – there were even fewer of color. In 1985 85% of the nudes displayed, and 5% of the exhibited artists at MOMA were women. We held a demonstration outside and realized that nobody cared – no matter what we were trying to say. There had to be a way that was more visually savvy to approach the issue so that people couldn’t discount what was happening.


There are so many different strata in the art world.

Artists see us and love us, curators see us and are curious about us. Dealers and art collectors I think wish we would go away. We don’t exist in their strata at all. We’ve bypassed them and jumped you know from the day to day life of collective artists that go into the institutions, and that’s fine by us. Because we don’t produce a product that they can fetishize and turn into a valuable thing.


History is richer that what we are taught.

Maybe collectors are still the exception but dealers and gallerists used to say things like, “Well women and people of color just don't make the kind of work that’s part of the art world dialogue”. No one would be so stupid as to say that anymore. That has changed forever. It’s become quite clear that history is much richer than the art history that we read about in books or see in art galleries. How can you tell the art history of a global culture with only the work of white men. That’s not the real history of art…. that's the history of wealth and power.


Art is an investment.

Super rich collectors open their own museums so they can control them – but they also exert their influence on public institutions, and that never used to be the case. So art has become capitalist investment – we want to ask the larger question, which is “Can you really have a situation [where someone influences a public space] without a conflict of interest.” We wanted to ask the museums the question “Can we allow the system to tell us our history.” If that answer is yes then, “What are the problems with a history that is created by the taste, and the money and the wealth and power, of a few!”


We are not sure what taste is, or if it exists. 

We don't think too much about whether there's such a thing as good taste or bad taste, but there's definitely bad behaviour. 

This Week

making codes: behind the scenes

Take another at director Liza Mandelup's Making Codes video, a look behind the scenes at digital artist and creative director Lucy Hardcastle's piece 'Intangible Matter' that features producer Fatima Al Qadiri, artist Chris Lee and a host of more leading digital artists.

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making movement: behind the scenes

Take a look behind the scenes in filmmaker Agostina Galvez’s Making Movements: a look at the making of The Pike and the Shield: Five Paradoxes with ballerina Nozomi Iijima and other leading movers and shakers from the world of dance including choreographers and dancers Holly Blakey, Aya Sato and the duo Project O. 

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making films: behind the scenes

Take another look behind the scenes in director Eva Michon's Making Films with Alma Har'el video: a look at the making of JellyWolf and the current state of play within the film industry through the eyes of female filmmakers championing diversity, and Alma Har'els Free The Bid initiative. 

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making images: behind the scenes

Take another look behind the scenes at photographer Harley Weir’s journey in capturing five women from around the world as well at a number of other creators defining the image of today in documentary filmmaker Chelsea McMullan’s Making Images video. 

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making exhibitions: behind the scenes

Take a look behind the scenes in director Christine Yuan’s Making Exhibitions with Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel: a look at the making of Just A Second: A Digital Exhibition Curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, inspired by CHANEL Nº5 L'EAU, and a look at other leading curators and collectives from the art world including BUFU, Rozsa Farkas, Fatos Ustek, Angelina Dreem and Yana Peel.

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Two of London’s most sought after figures in visually-shaped music meet.

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lizzie borden: feminist trailblazer

As her magnum opus returns to UK shores, Lizzie Borden – the visionary artist behind Born in Flames – talks rebellion, feminist artistry, and her nostalgia for 70s NYC.

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rebecca lamarche-vadel's
just a second

Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel is the Paris based curator for the Palais De Tokyo. Dedicated to modern and contemporary art she puts on large scale exhibitions that span installation, dance, sculpture, photography and spoken word. For The Fifth Sense she created a digital exhibition based on the transformative power of CHANEL’s Nº5 L’EAU.

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reba maybury: she’s got the power

We sat down with the editor, writer and dominatrix Reba Maybury to discuss her taboo-breaking publishing house Wet Satin Press, her latest novel Dining With Humpty Dumpty and what it means to be a woman in control.

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